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October 1st, 2023

NDP Statement on Mental Illness Awareness Week

At the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week, NDP Mental Health and Harm Reduction critic Gord Johns made the following statement:

“As Mental Illness Awareness Week kicks off, it’s important that we think of all those who are struggling with mental illness and those who’ve lost their lives to it.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect many Canadians’ mental health and well-being. It’s never been more important for us to work together to ensure people receive barrier-free mental health support and to better understand the lived experiences of people who suffer from mental health illnesses.

1 in 2 Canadians will experience a mental illness by the time they reach 40 years of age. Yet, getting the help they need is extremely difficult in Canada. Therapy can be extremely costly without private insurance, and waitlists remain long even if people are able to afford coverage.

The Liberal government campaigned on promises to make mental health services more affordable and accessible with the Canada Mental Health Transfer. But to date, they haven’t delivered. The Liberal’s delay is hurting Canadians, especially women, young people, Indigenous and racialized communities, and 2SLGBTQIA+ people who are more susceptible to mental illness and struggles and who are less likely to reach out for help.

During this Mental Health Awareness Week, I’m urging the Liberals to stop delaying and deliver a Canada Mental Health transfer that will help the provinces and territories open up more spots in treatment facilities, reduce costs, and help people get the health care they need. New Democrats are also calling on the government to remove the GST from therapy services to help bring down costs for people who need support.

This week, and every week, New Democrats promise not to give up this fight. Together, we can make a difference by supporting physical and mental wellness and reducing the stigma so that no one has to suffer in silence.”